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First Sunday of Advent

First Sunday of Advent

27 November 2010 – First Sunday of Advent – Year A

THIS SUNDAY: Advent opens with a great promise: “In the days to come…” the hope of a people who need God. “…The master is coming” is also a promise, not a threat to breed fear, but to answer our cry. So Advent begins, not with thoughts of the past, with the coming of the Lord we celebrate at Christmas, but with the future, and the promise that He is coming back. We are encouraged to stay awake, and treat every day as the day the Lord will come; we do not do this out of fear for a Master who beats his servants, but out of love of a Master who always treats us with mercy. Nevertheless we must always be watchful, because we can grow sleepy and complacent, saying that we can leave this prayer or that confession or the other change in the way we live to tomorrow. Even as we look forward to the tomorrow of the Lord’s coming, we must remember that it might be today!

Once again, the Advent wreath graces the sanctuary and provides us with a simple focus to mark our passage through this season of waiting. The wreath will be blessed and the first candle lit at the start of Mass this Sunday. If you bring your wreath along for a blessing, pop it near to our church wreath.

COMMUNION UNDER BOTH KINDS will be distributed at the Saturday evening Mass beginning this Saturday. To enable this to happen in as respectful and orderly a way possible, we will need to approach the altar from the central part of the church and not from the sides. This will enable the two ministers holding the chalices to stand at the end of the rails and those who want to receive communion from the chalice to present themselves from those side aisles. It should enable a steady flow to and from communion and facilitate an easy reception of communion from the chalice. Please just be aware of these slight adjustments over the next couple of weeks.

The new editions of the Liturgical year book (£5.99) and the diocesan directory (£5) are available from the narthex table. Do pick up your copy.

We mark this first Sunday of Advent with a celebration of sung Evening Prayer. We are joined this Sunday by members of the local Christian churches who have been invited to join us this weekend. There is a cup of tea after Vespers in the Hall.

APPEAR IN THE LIGHT: A special event for young people to meet and explore their faith and the season of Advent.
In each week of Advent there will be a series of short reflection evenings for young people in each county within our diocese. The evenings will be a chance to reflect on Advent as a season of preparation and our own faith journeys. The Advent reflections begin here at St Bernadette’s on Monday 29 November from 6.00pm until 9.00pm and all our young people, secondary school age and upwards, are warmly encouraged to come along.

CONFIRMATION PREPARATION: The fourth session of preparation takes place on Wednesday December 8 at 6.00pm in the Hall, and January 12. The Bishop will be with us on Thursday 27 January. Our young people have been sent away from this last session to think about choosing a sponsor and a name under which they choose to live as disciples of Christ. Let us keep them in our prayers as they journey towards the Sacrament of Confirmation.

This fantastic opportunity to deepen our understanding of faith starts up again on Tuesday, 30 November, at Holy Family, Patchway. Canon Bosco MacDonald will lead us into a reflection and deeper understanding of the Fatherhood of God. It’s free and it’s open to everyone. Do go along. Starts at 7.30pm

The concert this year takes place on Friday 3rd December in the hall of St Bernadette Secondary School starting at 7.30pm.  Do come along and enjoy carols, Christmas music, readings and poems, followed by drinks and mince pies.  Details on notice board.

200 CLUB SUBSCRIPTIONS: The new Club year begins in December. Colette has sent out renewal reminders to existing members. Please hand in your subs asap, please. There are a number of vacant numbers should anyone want to join up. There is the chance to win one of the ten monthly £25 cheques and also pick up those bigger prizes in May and November. Your subs do support the parish, also, in a very real way.

FAMILY CRIB SERVICE: This beautiful, simple service will take place on Sunday 19 December at 3.30pm in the Church. Once again, as we gather as a parish family, the children are invited to come dressed as one of the nativity figures. We will journey through the Christmas story in prayer, reading and song. Refreshments afterwards in the hall. Do come along if you can. Also, the homeless shelter in town benefits from the gifts we bring along to the crib service. They are in need of underclothes for their guests. If you can help out, the box will be in the Lady Chapel.

ADVENT CONFESSIONS: Fr Michael, Fr Christopher, and Fr Michael Derrick will be in the Church on Monday 20 December to hear confessions. They will be there from 7.00pm until 8.30pm. Do pop in and make use of this wonderful sacrament of healing and forgiveness as part of your preparation for Christmas.

CLOW: The Children’s Liturgy leaders come together next Saturday from10.30am until 12.00pm.

SCHOOL CLASSES AT MASS: Year 3 join us for Mass this coming Friday at 9.30am.

PURPLE MASS SHEETS giving the common prayers of the Mass are available from the narthex. These don’t need to be distributed along with the hymnbooks but are available for those who might need a little prompt with the prayers at Mass and especially those for whom English is not their first language. Help yourself.

Edwina and Nicholas Fogg join us for Mass this weekend. They come to tell us something of the work of ACN. They are not appealing for funds, just bringing to our minds this important branch of the Church’s mission and work. They will speak at all Masses this weekend. We give them a warm Whitchurch welcome.

CHRISTMAS MASSES: Christmas is less than thirty days away. There will be Mass at midnight beginning with the traditional half hour of carols at 11.30pm on Friday 24 December. On Christmas day, Mass will be celebrated at 8.00am and 10.30am. There will be no evening Mass on that Saturday. Christmas is also an opportunity to welcome people ‘home’ to our parish. You may know someone who has been away from Church and someone who has simply lost touch. This is a reach chance for us to reach out to them and invite them to StB’s for that celebration of Christ’s birth. Offer them the support they may need and bring them home to the Lord this year.

SCHOOL TRANSPORT CONSULTATION: Please have a look at the secondary school website and support them by taking part in the Council’s consultation. Cuts might mean that transport is removed… unless we voice our concern. You can find the link to the secondary school website through our own parish website. Have a look in the LINKS section.

ADVENT REFLECTIONS: Don’t forget to have a look at our diocesan website where you will find some beautiful reflections each week of Advent to accompany us on our jounrey of hope and preparation. Click onto the website and you’ll find the Advent Art link.

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